Amid a growing revolt from the ranks of his own Syriza party and discontent about the course of Greece’s necessary reforms, Greek state broadcaster reported that prime minister Alexis Tsipras will call snap elections after a meeting with his senior advisors, happening now in Athens.
The Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has announced he will step down from his role temporarily in the hope of regaining power after a snap election scheduled for next month.
Tsipras lost support from the far-left of this party after agreeing to domestically unpopular reforms such as more austerity and a range of economic policies.
Once he submits his resignation the prime minister would be replaced by the president of Greece’s supreme court, Vassiliki Thanou-Christophilou – a vocal bailout opponent – who would oversee the elections as the head of a transitional government.
Hugely popular among his supporters for trying to stand up to euro zone and International Monetary Fund creditors and with the opposition in disarray, Tsipras is widely expected to return to power.
Now that the country has secured its funding, Tsipras said he felt obliged to let the Greek people evaluate his work.
In the months since he took office, he’s instead had to switch course, embracing a new bailout deal that keeps austerity a part of the Greek economy’s rehabilitation plan – raising taxes and the retirement age while making steep spending cuts.
In accordance with the constitution, President Prokopis Pavlopoulos formally invited conservative leader Vangelis Meimarakis on Friday morning to try to form a new government without the need for a new elections.
The new anti-bailout Popular Unity party set up by the far-leftists is expected to take some anti-euro voters from Tsipras.
Shortly before Tsipras’ announcement, European leaders agreed to send Greece its first rush of money to help pay off debt – $14.5 billion.
Ratings agency Moody’s was one of many observers anxious the election will reduce the likelihood of a Greek economic recovery by making it harder for Athens to push ahead with implementing the reforms attached to the bailout agreement. They are led by former Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafanis. “The political landscape must be cleared up”.
That could delay the creditors’ first review of Greece’s reforms progress, which in turn would hold up the payout of the next batch of rescue loans to Greece.
On top of all that, Greece’s huge debt burden has to be eased.
Syriza members have argued that the party should aim for a majority, saying this would achieve the stable government which Greece has lacked through the past five years of crisis. “The bailout program is a program that was agreed with the Hellenic republic… and it will be valid through election dates”.